By Jill Rundle, Interim Executive Director & Board President. Photos by Heinrich Wurm, Leigh Macmillan Hayes & Dakota Ward
In 1970, Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-Wis) promoted Earth Day as a call to embrace environmental causes and fight the forces that were polluting and damaging our planet. By July of that year the Environmental Protection Agency was inaugurated, with its mission to protect the environment and public health, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act were signed into law, and a global awareness of the environmental movement was begun.
Today more than 1 billion people in hundreds of countries around the globe are expected to celebrate the successes of the past 49 years, and work for the future. This year’s theme is “Protect our Species,” a focus on the many species that have vanished and the need to protect the populations that are tipping on the edge… Including the smallest of our fellow travelers on the planet, the insects.
I’ll admit to being as happy as the next guy when a dry spring gives us a quiet bug season in Maine, but the balance is tipping. Recent studies have shown declines of up to 75% in insect populations in some locations, declines that threaten the birds, fish, and other animals that rely on them for food, and the plants that rely on them for pollination. There are easy ways for us to slow declines in our area. Eliminating pesticide and herbicide use, protecting against invasive species, planting insect-friendly gardens.
Not all of us can get to an Earth Day event today, but we can all work on the crisis that we face on the planet. For us at the GLLT, our mission of conservation is central to protecting the environment and the resources we depend on. Together with our members and communities we work to improve the quality of life, provide access to the natural world, and protect habitat for the wildlife that shares our region.
As a celebration of the region that we all treasure, please consider a gift to the GLLT and be a champion of the natural world on this 49th Earth Day.